Purposeful Parenting: When Parenting Isn’t Fun

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Purposeful Parenting: When Parenting Isn’t Fun

Most days I am so happy to be a stay at home mom. I love my kids, I love spending time with them and I love being able to have an influence over their lives. There are those days, though, that can really get to me.

Yesterday was one of them.

My teenage son has Asperger’s Syndrome (an autism spectrum disorder), and while he has made HUGE strides in many areas, there are some days when he is highly agitated. When we start the day off in that way, it never goes very well. He is irritated by everything and everyone and has no problem letting us know.

After a pretty calm day considering my son’s state, my husband and I left for our weekly date night. Most date nights we leave our children at home for a few hours with my oldest daughter in charge. Our teenage son is left with strict instructions for what he can and cannot do, and those things primarily consist of staying in his room to watch a movie or play his Wii.

I’m not sure if this is true of other children with Aspergers, but at least with my son, it’s as if he forgets everything we have ever taught him and every morning he starts with a fresh slate. We have to remind him daily about the appropriate way to interact with family members, but last night I forgot to remind him of the date night rules.

About an hour into our date, I called to see how things were going. My 11 year old daughter answered the phone crying, and when I asked what had happened she told me that her older brother had tried to get her to stop using the computer and when she did not comply (because she was following my instructions and did not need to), he turned off the computer.

Of course, this left my daughter very upset and resulted in the two of them shouting at each other, my daughter crying and us having to return home from our date to get everyone calmed down. I have to admit, I did not handle the conversation with my son as well as I would have liked. I participated in the shouting as well, but within a few minutes I was able to calm everyone down, have them ask each other’s forgiveness and move on. (Of course, dear son ended up with a consequence of doing his sister’s chores for the week.)

In moments like these, I wish so badly that we didn’t have to deal with the problems associated with Aspergers. The emotional drain of dealing with special needs is just exhausting and frustrating. I feel angry that my son behaved the way he did and that we had to end our date. I feel angry that we are limited in a lot of ways because of what my son deals with.

But then I remember that God gave me this child and He will enable me to parent him. Many parents can’t leave their special needs children even for a short time without arranging childcare. Some parents can’t have a conversation that their children can understand. I remember and I am thankful for what we do have.

So I will start again today asking for God’s grace and wisdom in caring for these children and thank Him that His mercies are new every morning.


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  1. Mary Ann Scholl says

    I can not remember where I saw these following words, but sometimes when our children are trying to our souls, it lifts us back up to remember how important they are in God’s eyes. I am not saying it is always easy to be a mom, because every mother knows that it is not always easy! Hang in there. Know that your son’s condition is very trying on you, him, his father, and his sibling at times. Thinking of you and wishing you peace in your journey of raising your children.

    (Let’s insist on children being valued for who they are — eternal people made in the image of God. The Fall did not strip away our likeness to God — every child bears the likeness of the Heavenly Father (cf. Genesis 8:6; James 3:9). In addition, God is at work making each child special, even when the child is unseen in the womb of his or her mother (Psalm 139:13-16). God knows this unseen child and has a plan for her or his life.)

  2. Wynn Przybycien says

    Thanks for sharing. A friend recommended your blog and I just started reading it this week. My three year old daughter was diagnosed with ASD last summer and we have also seen huge strides with her. We were fortunate to get Early Intervention Services for her right away and an amazing music therapist. The changes were monumental but we still have days that start and end badly. There are days my husband comes home from work and I just have to hide for a few minutes. I need a moment for no one to “need me”. I love this line “But then I remember that God gave me this child and He will enable me to parent him.” It’s a reminder that tomorrow is a new day and if I failed to react appropriately today, by God’s grace I get a chance to show her that grace tomorrow. She hasn’t stopped amazing us yet, and I don’t expect she will any time soon. And that is my hope.

  3. Valerie says

    That certainly sounds frustrating. How awesome, though, that you were able to see your blessings in that situation! I’m sure your children benefit greatly by seeing how you can manage to focus on the positives and be joyful (even if it isn’t right in the moment….hey, nobody’s perfect!) That’s something there is a real shortage of nowadays and it’s refreshing to read about the joys in the midst of difficulties for a change! :-)

  4. says

    I love this post. I’m so sorry you deal with these issues on a daily basis. I totally understand. My 5-year old has autism, and it’s so frustrating being completely unable to go ANYWHERE without him. My husband and I haven’t had a date in at least 3 years…we wouldn’t even know what to do on a date! lol.

    Anyway, I just wanted to thank you and let you know that you are not alone. I hope it gets better for you!

  5. J Murphy says

    nice post…no,parenting isn’t always fun (read:teen years) yet on the most basic level it reminds me daily how vital this job of good parenting is. And at my stage,with older kids (like you) when much of the worlds wisdom says’ leave ’em alone,live your own life,let them do it on their own,they don’t need you anymore’ I know that toddlerhood is just the beginning,and it gets more intense as the kids grow. More time, more thought,more prayer,more love.I think it’s cool that you do a date night regularly,we need to get into that!!!

  6. Christi says


    Thanks so much for your post. I also have a teenage son with Aspbergers. It was like I was reading about my house! Thank you for reminding me that I’m not alone in dealing with these types of outbursts; but more importantly how special my child is.

    I sometimes get frustrated in thinking that he will be living with us forever – he just turned 16, and normally you’d expect him to be thinking about being on his own in 4-5 years; but with this one I don’t see him being on his own for quite a while yet. I keep trying to remember how much I enjoy his company, and treasure the time that he will be the only one left at home.

    Again thanks again for your post.

    • says

      Christi-I know what you mean about this transition time. It is difficult sometimes to envision them as adults, but I am just trusting God that He will make a way. Blessings!

      • Alison says

        Sweet Kimberlee, These dear ladies are as kind & composed as you are ….. I would have flat out resigned, left my patient husband with the kids and gone to a movie date – by myself- making sure I arrived home after everyone’s bedtime. Maybe if stopped by your blog more often- I, too, would become a more peaceful mom. Hugs & Kisses!

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